Wednesday, December 28, 2005

nothing to see here

today brings news from the daily herald that the cubs never even made the oft-rumored and hotly-debated trade offer involving mark prior and miguel tejada.

Despite a report on WMVP 1000-AM that the trade was on the table awaiting a decision, a Cubs source told the Daily Herald on Tuesday that no such offer has been made.

whatever really is true -- and i would ask you, dear reader, to consider that this denial is at least as likely damage control following an offer rebuffed as an admission of any reality -- this can be taken as probably confirmation of what this page said a week ago about the tejada deal.

in summation, dear reader, this page is compelled to say that the hope of a savior in the form of tejada is again yet another phantasm of need and desire more than any real prospect of help for 2006. we here now await the admission from the cub front office that they are essentially done with major moves, are "satisfied" with their squad's "competitiveness" and will thenceforth sit on their hands.

and this page is left to wonder why hendry, in the process of making a three-year offer to jacque jones, didn't realize that such a move constituted powerful evidence that he should instead be trading derrek lee and greg maddux to actual contenders.

to be frank, with no replacement for prior's arm on any near horizon, it's probably just as well.

bcb offers a righteous debunking of the article's fallacious main thrust -- that no acquisiton of a big bat at the cost of young pitching ever worked out -- point by point. it should be easily seen by even the mildly critical reader that anyone can cherrypick worst-case examples to make a case to back up any silly hypothesis. perhaps we could make the exact opposite assertion and cite frank robinson, who was acquired by baltimore after the 1965 season for 26-year-old all-star starter milt pappas, who had a hell of a lot more going for him then than mark prior does now, having placed top ten in the american league in era, whip, complete games, shutouts and k:bb ratio for three years running. robinson went on to win the triple crown, mvp and world series with baltimore in 1966 and the series again in 1970 -- while pappas steadily declined from his pinnacle, enjoying only fleeting episodes of his former regular success.

in any case, the prior-tejada deal appears to be a trade that wasn't, another flight of fancy for desperate cub fans to use in denial of a more difficult truth: the cubs very probably aren't going to improve materially between now and april 3, 2006, when they will take the field with players like jacque jones, ronny cedeno, ryan dempster and glendon rusch playing critical roles.

this writer will defer for some time in making any attempts at prognostication regarding the coming year -- but it must be said that, at this point, if this page is not deeply wrong about a great many things, there is very little to anticipate in the year to come.

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